Delivering the message

imgresHow you deliver the message in many ways is more important than the message itself.

When we were returning to the city after a 5 year stint in suburbia people kept asking us “how are your kids going to take it”?  Our kids were then 8, 6 and 3.  Did they really understand that we were returning to the city that Fred and I loved to raise them and that our preferred method of transportation would no longer be a mini-van?  I doubted it.

I do remember sitting down with them and telling them the good news.  We were ecstatic. Guess what kids we are moving back to the city….YEAH!!!  Josh was 3 and he was doing the happy dance.  It was all about the delivery.  They had zero idea how much their life was about to change.

Everyone takes in information differently.  Sitting on start-up boards all these years has been an eye opening experience on how people deliver the message.  Like children (and people) everyone reacts differently to how the message is delivered.  I have seen board members push founders into a corner and it is usually because the message was delivered in a way that shuts that founder down.  Not productive.  The message is usually one that needs to be delivered but you want a positive reaction not a negative one.

The message that we are all in this together and we are here to help is definitely more positive and it keeps the lines of communication open.  Just like raising children you will get the response you are looking for if the message is delivered in a way that will resonate with the person on the other side. Taking time out to understand how the person on the other side of the table is able to take the message is time worth spent.

Comments (Archived):

  1. Rohan

    So true. Framing makes such a huge difference. Thanks for sharing, Joanne!

  2. Susan Rubinsky

    Love this! So true. Kids teach you so much about how to be in the world, both personally and professionally.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Yes they do

  3. jtsvino

    Thanks for this clear and succinct reminder; can’t be reiterated too often. In our haste to impart information we often focus too much on launching and neglect the landing. Empathy – a core and sometimes underemphasized skill of emotional intelligence.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Empathy is key

      1. jtsvino

        Sherry Turkle has some interesting ideas about empathy and communication, about 5 paragraphs down here:

        1. Gotham Gal

          great article. it is always amazing to me to see families out for dinner are all their phones. what’s the point?

  4. Alberto Mendonça

    I think the keypoint is time, or our sense of lack of it, to pause and think the best way to deliver the message. That’s why most of us don´t take enough, if any, to ” understand how the person on the other side of the table is able to take the message” , but for sure is “time worth spent”.

  5. JLM

    .The fact that you use the term “deliver the message” shouts something. Wonder what it is?Smart, really smart, people don’t “deliver the message” they sit with the folks they want to influence and discuss the facts. They discuss the possible outcomes.Really smart people let the management “see” the different outcomes through their own eyes and lenses. And, then, let them reason to the logical conclusion. If an action is supported by the facts, reasonable people will often arrive at the same conclusion/decision.If you “deliver the message”, you have YOUR fingerprints on the murder weapon. They may buy in but it will always be YOUR decision. That creates a dependency.If you delve into the facts and are clever, the solution becomes THEIR solution and they tell you what needs to be done. They will become empowered and independent. They will learn and they will, on other days, be able to solve similar problems.This is how they teach at the US Army Command & General Staff College and the Army War College. It draws leadership out of leaders at all stages of their development.If board members or investors are “delivering the message” then it means they are backing folks who cannot reason, decide, and lead. Short term that works. Long term, it is a disaster.I would rather have a captain of a rowboat as my leader than the sixth mate on the Queen Mary.The only thing that can be added to money is guile.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…